C Is For Creating Characters

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

CREATING CHARACTERS

The absolute worst thing about any story, hands down, is the characters. Nothing can ruin a story faster than having characters in it. The best book ever written is a little-known title called A Tree Growing Alone In the Forest. There’s no characters, just eight hundred pages of a non-sentient tree surrounded by other non-sentient plants, just doing what trees do like turning carbon dioxide into oxygen and absorbing nutrients from the soil. No one visits it. Nothing important happens. It’s a wonderful read. The author didn’t have to tear their hair out or gnash their teeth because the tree was entirely predictable and never wavered from the plot.

Why are characters the worst? Because one of the worst things about writing is creating those idiots. Here’s what characters do:

– Half of them don’t know what their frickin’ name is and so you try to name them but nothing sounds right and I’m sorry, Sheila Rufflebottom, but I’m sending your ass into space to fight in the space war anyway.
– You want them to do something and then they do something else. They’re like cats, in that way.
– Sometimes they’re not interesting no matter how many tattoos and mommy issues you give them.
– Sometimes they don’t like each other even though they’re supposed to because they have a common unifying force, kinda like your parents meeting your in-laws.
– They’re never grateful you gave them life, they just screw up your story anyway.

Don’t write stories with characters in them. If you do, eventually you’re going to write a character who just works, who is interesting and fun and sympathetic and will be loved by your readers. You’re going to adore this character and they’re going to feel real to you. You’re going to love telling their story. They’re going to have great interaction and relationships with other characters. Is that what you want? Is that what you really want? You maniac!


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.

84 thoughts on “C Is For Creating Characters

  1. I’m afraid to share my stories so far due to loving the characters too much! I don’t want them to be insulted by some unworthy mortal. ~grin~ Thanks for these posts!

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  2. Hehe soooo true! My characters never do what I want, and a bunch of them are named Person Noname, or Rename Later. Sheila Rufflebottom would put them to shame!

    (PS: I really want to read A Tree Growing Alone In The Forest lol!)

    Here’s my “C” post 🙂 http://nataliewestgate.com/2017/04/captain-secret-diary-of-a-serial-killer

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    1. Ha! You can use Shelia in your next work, if you want to! 😉

      Like

  3. Hah, this is hilarious! Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo?

    C is for Character

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    1. I did it once in the past, in July, but I’m not doing it this month. Thank you!

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  4. “the tree was entirely predictable and never wavered from the plot”…. this is perfect. “never wavered from the plot”!! Love it. Even if you didn’t mean it to be funny THAT way! I think I will write about a rock. They’re pretty rock solid on a plot, too.
    Oh, good grief. Just wrote and deleted a poem. See I have this rhyming problem. The character thing, not so much. A poem penchant, serious. It can be irritating, too. Almost like it must be with a character calling out to you, “Write me! Write me!” – so are the days of my life with poems. Each poem is like a character.

    Donna Smith
    Mainely Write
    DAM

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    1. I definitely think we should all start writing about rocks and trees! It would make our lives a whole lot easier, right? Right?!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  5. Of course….they get to wear nice clothes…. Their names are given more thought than those of the author s actual real life babies…. They are usually nice and admirable and they eat the author’s head….

    C for Cup

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  6. I really envy authors who nail the art of making their characters. Some character names seem so perfectly suited, and my character names keep sticking out and seeming out of place. The character-less book had me in splits !

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    1. Same here! I think sometimes the perfect name just comes along. Who knows, maybe they struggled with it too before they came to the perfect name, though!

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  7. Characters! They’re the worst! I can’t even deal with most real people, and now I have to figure out how to herd these imaginary folks, too?! I quit! 😉

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    1. Hahaha exactly! It’s just too much stress!

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  8. Sheila Rufflebottom had it coming…

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    1. Haaaa! That’s what she gets for making me make up her name for her!

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  9. Characters sure do like to do as they please!

    operationawesome6.blogspot.com/

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  10. Haha! I have a friend that writes, and she is always telling me how one of her characters continues to make her angry. She really wants to kill him now, but can’t because it will ruin the story.

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle
    #AtoZChallenge 1970’s Billboard Hits

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    1. Hahaha! Oh man, I feel her pain. 😉

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  11. Characters are like cats… SO much like cats! I can’t even herd cats, let alone characters. (Yeah, I have no idea what that means either.)
    Doree Weller

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    1. Ha! Me either! They nap when they wanna nap, and get all wild and crazy when they want to. There’s just no controlling either one.

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  12. ANd just when you get attached, you have to kill them off!

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    1. Indeed! You would think that would be the fun part, after all the trouble they gave you.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. The absolute worst are the serial killers that just want their stories told! How do you say no to a serial killer? YOU DON”T!

    LOL I love this blog! 🙂

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    1. HA! Definitely not! Thank you! 😉

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  14. Give me the title of that book about the tree. At long last, something that sounds jsut awesome.

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    1. Hahaha! It’s a nice, relaxing read–and was easy to write, I’m sure!

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  15. You forgot how characters like to throw wrenches in the plot and ruin things. 😉

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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    1. Of course! Just when you think everything is starting to go well…

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  16. Hilarious! And yes, why do they make it so hard to name them!

    Aditi

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    1. They’re just being difficult! 😉

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  17. Sheila Rufflebottom, huh? You hit the nail on the head- characters are very troublesome. The worst is when they pop in and out of my head at random times. While it can be distracting, it’s when they are alone and don’t exist in anything I’ve written that it really bothers me. Who are you? Where do you belong? Are you in something I am working on or are you a brand new story?

    Great post! 🙂

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    1. Hahaha they’re visiting from the future, trying to convince you it’s time to start writing their story! Too bad they don’t let you know what that story is, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would love to know their story because I’ve got nothing. 🙂

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  18. That cracked me up!

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  19. I don’t get frustrated with my characters as much as I get frustrated with myself. But one gripe is having a secondary character outshine the main character. Talk about nerve!

    C is for Church Committee: Intelligence Abuses by the CIA

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    1. TELL me about it, the main character of my Siren Song series used to be a side character in the original drafts. Talk about disobedience!

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  20. Loving this. Those damn pesky characters, always needing something. lol.

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    1. Always! And then never caring what YOU need!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. I’ve got one I’m about to torture in a few minutes.

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  21. You absolutely nail it with your sarcasm! Love it. 🙂
    ———-
    Vinodini
    http://ifsbutsandsetcs.com

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  22. Megan! Megan! MEGAN!!! You kill me! I wish I could get to meet you in person because I believe we would get along so well. I am laying out the plot, setting and yes Characters of a new historical fiction novel and many of my 26 posts are character sketches. I cannot remember if I have shared this next couple of lines, so if I have I apologize and I will make sure not to again.

    The Steel Horse Saviors is a story about three civil war veterans who head west in 1866 with their Steam Locomotive to seek their fortune. They encounter a beautiful redhead trying desperately to save her family business that threatens to complicate their plan to escape their past.

    Joe @ the Fiction Playground visiting from the A to Z Challenge

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    1. Ha! I’m probably only entertaining on the screen because I get to think what I’m going to say first, and then I can go back and edit it better before I post it. 😉 Thanks for sharing your work!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think your modesty is showing now. Personality comes through the writing. You are gaining a huge fan Megan.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Before I come across all stalky, I am just complimentary and like to encourage others, nothing more! 😇

            Liked by 1 person

  23. The worst is when they bother you and go on about their problems when you’re trying to go about your business and do everyday things like sleeping and washing. Decent (and real) people don’t do that, usually!

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    1. Only if they’re little kids, of course. 😉 Which is exactly how characters like to act sometimes!

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  24. Naming characters should be an Olympic sport – it takes the same kind of stamina 😉 Even if you make something up, half the time you Google it and find out it means something embarassing in Russian or Swahili!
    Tasha
    Tasha’s Thinkings – Shapeshifters and Werewolves

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    1. Oh gosh, yes, or the worst–you think up a great name, only to find there’s already a character in another (usually popular) book that has the same name and you don’t want to make it look like you’re stealing. It’s enough to make you pull your hair out!

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  25. I think maybe Ms Rufflebottom just wanted to hang with that tree for 800 pages… Perhaps on a swing.

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    1. Ha! I’m sure if she had, she would have messed up the story somehow! 😉

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  26. randommusings29 April 4, 2017 — 7:06 AM

    Naming characters is the worst! Nothing ever sounds right
    Debbie

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    1. Every once in a while it works out, but rarely!

      Like

  27. The name issue is right though. It can be so hard to come up with a name that fits, who’d have thought it could be so difficult? For an imaginary person?

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    1. I know! Some of them come with their name already for me, but that’s only about half of them. It’s quite difficult.

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  28. I’ve written entire books with characters whose names I don’t know. I use placeholders like AAAA or LLL until I can figure out what to name them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s switching names halfway that’s precarious, especially if you forget you’ve done it.

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      1. I’ve definitely done that before, especially with side characters!

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    2. That’s a good idea. I’ve also given characters a generic name and then gone back and changed it when I figured out what I wanted them to be named.

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  29. 😂😂😂 I love your writing style! 😊

    ~Shweta
    My Random Ramblings​

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  30. So are you trying to say that this tree didn’t have feelings?

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    1. No feelings whatsoever! That’s why it couldn’t screw up the story for the author! 😉

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      1. Then non-sentient is right. Pet peeve when sentient is used in an incorrect manner, which is most people. Curse of being a writer.

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  31. Loved your writing style. Loved your theme. It’s fun to read your post.The way, you convey such important words and tips, is really amazing. Enjoyed.Looking for your next take.

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  32. Characters are totally like cats! We exist for them… :/

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    1. Absolutely! And they’ll be yowling for attention at all hours of the day and night!

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  33. Also, here’s my rambling little rant for today:

    LINK

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I love the comment about characters being like cats, I so totally with that! My cats (especially the year-old sextuplets who are my furry grandbabies and all royal pains in the butt) never want to do a damn thing they’re told, and love destroying Grandma’s stuff. They’ve made a hammock out of my curtain, and love knocking the curtain rod down six or more times a day. Their mom’s not much better. I’ve had so many characters that remind me of these kittens, because they absolutely refuse to do what I want them to do and instead go off and do their own thing while laughing at me the whole time. Sixteen chapters later, the story doesn’t even pretend to vaguely resemble the story I’d intended to write, and no one is anything like the way they started out, and how the hell did those two end of together, anyway? They hated each other in chapter one!

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    1. EXACTLY! Characters are just like kittens, ruining the curtains, but they’re so soft and cuddly you just can’t get mad at them…sigh! And they never, ever listen, even when you try to bribe them with treats.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  35. My favorite character I ever created was made from Silly Putty. But even he turned into a bit of a dick. I think I agree with you

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    1. Hahaha! I love it! 😉 See what happens when we give these creatures life?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely. But we wouldn’t want it any other way

        Like

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